I have been measuring myself lately and feeling like an abject failure. As I have for the last three years, I track my workouts, miles, calories burned all through my computer. I have been sick and tired of being sick and tired lately so those numbers haven’t looked so hot. Further, I started using a little device that measures my steps and calories and stays on my body 24/7. When the data syncs to my laptop, I check it. I sometimes meet the goals and sometimes I do not. Regardless, I feel like I failed.
This feeling of failure doesn’t end there. As a result of this new lifestyle I live, I have to use a scale. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the numbers; they are not headed in an ascent. But each little loss feels like a failure because I want more. I want impossible and I will settle for nothing less.
Failure has marked my work of late, or so I believe. I started a new job with little direction and the piles are growing larger and I don’t know what to do all the time and I am atrocious at asking for help. So I sit, determined and dejected, in my beautiful office that reeks of failure. And grad school and nursing school feel like little failures. Because an A is fine, but I want 110%, even if I do not have it to give.
This measuring is a waste of time. I know. The feelings of failure are the whisperings of the great lie that we are irredeemable. I know.
I also know we do it anyway: men, women, all. We measure ourselves (and others) by the size of our jeans, the size of our houses, the size of our bank accounts, the size of our contributions to society, the size of our hearts. It does not matter if we are discussing sacred or secular things (if you even split up your life in those neat little divides…I do not, personally), it all gets measured. And after we measure ourselves, we begin the heartbreaking task of measuring ourselves against each other. Still others take this a step further and lie about who they are to make this measuring and heartache all worth it, creating even more sorrow within. This should not be so.
To combat these lies, I propose a little truth. I am speaking as much to myself as to you….
You are not a failure. That measuring stick you’re using? Break it up into finite pieces and burn it in a bonfire. Cease looking at yourself with your feeble human eyes and choose to see yourself as Christ sees you: BELOVED. REAL. KNOWN. RAW. WORTHY. REDEMPTIVE.
This is not intended as a mushy, sappy, feel-good affirmation. I do not like those much. And this is not about increasing your self-esteem. (Frankly, I do not know why we bother talking about that either.) I mean to tell you that you can end these lies by living some truth but YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Measurement is a waste. In all forms. Just stop. You are hurting yourself and you are hurting others. Just stop. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. You are human and vulnerable and you will fail at things and you will succeed at things and life will still go on and you will survive. Do not let the lies win. Spend your time doing something a bit more worthy and honest than living and telling and believing lies about yourself and those around you.
Quit thinking so much about yourself and move on and spread some love and do some good in this wild, jacked-up world and know that people are people, God is good, and love is meant to be lived.